April is IBS Awareness Month, a time to support others with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and share information. The 2023 theme is increasing public awareness of IBS and helping to destigmatize the different types of IBS. April 19, 2023, is World IBS Day 2023.

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IBS is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, affecting 10% of people in Western countries. Often debilitating, IBS can be hard to live with, limiting your activities and leading to stress and depression, and it can be just as hard to talk about.

That’s why, in 1997, the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) established April as IBS Awareness Month. This year the focus is on destigmatizing the types of IBS.

Learn more about IBS.

Social media is one easy way to share your story, find support, and get involved this year.

World IBS Day is Wednesday, April 19, 2023. This year there are several ways to show your support and share your stories of IBS. Here’s how to participate in World IBS Day:

  • Include #WorldIBSDay2023 on all your social platforms.
  • Join the conversation on Twitter at @WorldIBSDay.
  • Share your story on the “IBS Chat” podcast.

Facts and stats about IBS

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Experts define IBS by referring to a group of symptoms. Sometimes called the ABCDs of IBS, these symptoms include:

Other symptoms of IBS include:

Contact a healthcare professional if you have any of these symptoms because they may indicate a more serious condition:

In 2023, the IBS Awareness Month theme is destigmatizing the different types of IBS. The first step is understanding the different types of IBS and how they affect people.

Types of IBS include:

  • IBS with constipation (IBS-C): You may have IBS-C if you have atypical stools that are hard and lumpy or not loose and watery at least a quarter of the time.
  • IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): You may have IBS-D if you have atypical stools that are loose, watery, and not hard or lumpy at least a quarter of the time.
  • IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): You may have IBS-M if you have atypical stools that are watery and loose about a quarter of the time, and they are hard and lumpy another quarter of the time.
  • Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome: This type happens when IBS starts after a bout of “stomach flu” or a “stomach bug” — gastroenteritis. Researchers suspect it may relate to persistent inflammation or changes in the gut flora.
  • Post-diverticulitis IBS: This type of IBS happens after episodes of diverticulitis and can occur even after treatment for diverticulitis.

Tips for finding a healthcare professional if you think you have IBS

  • Speak with friends or family members who may also have IBS and ask for recommendations for healthcare professionals who have helped them.
  • Ask your primary care doctor or other healthcare professionals you talk with for recommendations.
  • The following organizations have services to help you find healthcare and mental health professionals in your area:
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A great place to start is with your primary care doctor if you have one or another healthcare professional you trust. It’s important to share your symptoms. You may need a referral so that your insurance can cover the cost of other healthcare professionals you may need.

A treatment team to help with IBS may include:

  • A gastroenterologist: A gastroenterologist is a doctor that specializes in conditions that affect the digestive tract.
  • A registered dietitian: Nutrition specialists and registered dietitians can help you plan nutritious meals that help avoid your triggers and may relieve your symptoms.

April is IBS Awareness Month, and April 19 is IBS Awareness Day. This year’s theme is destigmatizing the types of IBS. This month is an opportunity to find support, share your story, and build an effective healthcare team that meets your needs.